A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Kids might be inspired to learn about prehistoric animals, but Ice Age: Continental Drift is obviously intended for entertainment purposes and shouldn't be considered an accurate depiction of the way ancient mammals interacted.
The central idea of every Ice Age film is that your herd (family) isn't necessarily the one you're born with but the tribe that protects you and loves you unconditionally. Even though Sid's sloth family abandons him, Manny and Diego never will. The subplot with Peaches reminds viewers that true friends accept you as you are, not under the condition that you dump another friend first.
Positive Role Models
The main characters are all committed to teamwork and to their herd, even in the direst of circumstances. Sid and Diego never question Manny's determination to get back to Ellie and Peaches. Ellie is a patient and understanding mother. Peaches is a somewhat stereotypical teenager who's embarrassed by her over-protective parents, but she learns how lucky she is by the end of the movie. Ellie's best friend Louis might look like a weakling, but when things get scary, he summons his courage to save Peaches. Even usually senile Grandma knows a lot more than she lets on.
Violence & Scariness
Lots of cartoonish violence, as per usual with the Ice Age movies. Scrat unintentionally causes widespread destruction and personal harm in his attempt to secure his precious acorn. Young kids might be scared when Manny, Diego, and Sid are separated from the rest of the herd. The pirate Captain Gutt is menacing and tells a frightening story about how he got his nickname. He's bent on revenge and is willing to sacrifice any of his pirates to achieve it. None of the other characters is really hurt, however, so there isn't a body count or anything too gruesome. Also, the sirens in their original form are quite creepy looking.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Peaches has a crush on Ethan, while her molehog best friend, Louis, is smitten with her. Peaches calls Ethan "hot." Diego and Shira flirt and eventually declare their interest in each other. Sid and Manny poke fun at Diego for not realizing he's falling in love. In one funny sequence, monstrous "sirens" appear as the opposite sex to lure Scrat, Manny, Sid, Sid's Granny, Diego, etc. to them. The male sloth (who looks like Fabio in sloth form) makes a suggestive statement to Sid's grandma about the "wrinklier the fruit, the juicier the fruit."
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Mild insults include "idiot," "freaks," and "stupid." There's also some scatological humor about puking, farting, burping, etc.
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Products & Purchases
No product placements in the movie, but the Ice Age franchise has many merchandise tie-ins off camera, including Happy Meal collectible toys, plush dolls, figurines, games, and more.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ice Age: Continental Drift is the fourth installment in Fox's popular prehistoric animal franchise. Even the youngest moviegoers will want to follow Manny, Sid, and Diego's latest adventures. Like Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, this one's in 3-D and features some cartoonish violence, mild romance, a smattering of insults, and some scatological humor. On the plus side, there are a lot of overtly positive messages about family and friendship. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This isn't the most inspired film in the series, but these characters are like comfort food -- pleasingly familiar. The original threesome is now middle-aged, and with their age come new problems, particularly for overprotective father Manny. The new setting (at sea) doesn't leave room for much breathtaking animation, but the action sequences are pretty spectacular in 3-D, even if the story is a little flimsy. At least Scrat gets more screen time than ever (and if there's an animated creature bound to tickle every single member of the audience's funny bone, it's the Sisyphean Scrat).
Ice Age: Continental Drift's new characters/storylines are both hit and miss -- things fall flat with the teens (Louis and Peaches are cute, but the young mammoth clique featuring the voices of Drake, Nicki Minaj, and Glee star Heather Morris is just an annoying attempt to capture the tween audience), but the addition of Granny is rather genius. The addled but hilarious sloth grandma is by far the breakout new character, and her silly comments and constant muttering will win kids over and make even jaded parents laugh aloud. Girls will also be taken with the low-key love story that develops between Diego and Shira (Jennifer Lopez), a pirate tigress who needs a lesson in the meaning of camaraderie. While it's not the best animated adventure you'll see, Ice Age 4 is sure to please the kids.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.